do-dogs-dream-like-humans-kennel-boardingAs elite dog boarders serving areas of Illinois such as St. Charles, Elgin, Schaumberg, and Hoffman Estates, Bark Avenue Daycamp has served thousands of fur-clients through the years for their kennel boarding needs. And with that honor, we get to observe the sleep patterns of our dogs and puppies daily. In general, dogs tend to spend a good portion of their life sleeping, so it’s not surprising to wonder if dogs dream. The next question that comes to our minds is what they may be dreaming about.

Yes, Dogs Do Dream

Our dog boarding clients at Bark Avenue Daycamp get good quality sleep when they are here with us. After having hours of fun-filled play time throughout the day with their fur-friends, they are sure to be exhausted at the end of the day! Many times we may hear a growl, whimper, or whine coming from our sleeping pups. We may even see them make movements with their legs, as though running. Dr. William Dement, the founder of the Sleep Research Center at Stanford University, studied the sleeping patterns of dogs in the 1970s. During the course of his research, he and his collaborators discovered that dogs have cycles of rapid eye movement (REM) and non-rapid eye movement sleep just like humans. More scientists have also managed to gather information about the sleeping patterns of dogs through clinical observations, concluding dogs go through multiple sleep cycles when they sleep. Dogs achieve rapid eye movement sleep after about twenty minutes of sleep, this is responsible for those vivid dreams.

“Dog brains are very similar to human brains on a structural level so their brainwaves and brain activity while sleeping are similar to humans,” says Dr. Gary Richter, an award-winning veterinary health expert with

What Your Dog Could Be Dreaming About

As we witness our dog boarding clients making movements and sounds in their sleep, it makes us wonder, what are they dreaming about? Although we don’t know exactly what they dream about, researchers have found that dogs have dreams similar to what we have when they sleep. This means dogs likely dream about fun moments or experiences: car rides with the window down, playing with their favorite toys, enjoying their favorite treats, or chasing that squirrel through the yard.

Signs of Dogs Dreaming

One great way to tell if a dog is dreaming is through the signs of your dog dreaming that they give when they are asleep. You can easily tell when your dog has moved from non-rapid eye movement sleep (restful sleep) to rapid eye movement sleep (active dreaming). Since dogs achieve rapid eye movement sleep after about twenty minutes of dozing off, their breathing will switch from deep and regular to shallow and irregular.

You can also tell that your dog is dreaming through some of these signs:

  • their eyes may move behind their eyelids
  • they may wag their tail
  • they may make some noises and occasionally whimper
  • they may growl
  • and there may be random muscle movements such as twitching, and lastly, they may move their legs as if they are running in their sleep.

What If My Dog is Having a Nightmare

Dogs not only dream of pleasant experiences but can also recount traumatic experiences or fears when they sleep. “If your dog is dreaming and twitching or whining softly in his sleep, you can try to gently wake him from his bad dream if you don’t think he’ll be started,” explains Dr. Richter.

However, if your dog is growling or acting aggressively in their sleep, it is best to not wake them so they don’t become startled and react. Once your dog wakes up, you can cuddle and pet them to calm them down for comfort.

If you live in Bartlett, Hoffman Estates, St. Charles, Elgin, or Schaumburg and are looking for dog boarding kennels, call us at (630) 289-8470 or contact us online. We would love for you and your pup to be part of the Bark Avenue Daycamp family!